It's Midnight. Do You Know Where Your Children Are? ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's Midnight. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

In the wake of the recent shooting murder of an eleventh grader in The Robinwood public housing project at about 11 pm on a Sunday night, we are hearing calls for a curfew for young people. Many people ask what was he doing out at that time on a school night? This is a legitimate question to ask about an eleventh grader. I think so as a parent, and I believe many parents would agree. If you read the many comments online at the Capital, you'll see that some people take offense at such a question and seem to think that nobody should even dare ask about why all this violence occurs in public housing.

The Baltimore Sun reports pros and cons on the issue, including Carl Snowden, who is identified as a "local civil rights" activist, curiously leaving out his title as a special assistant attorney general for Maryland in charge of civil rights--that's for MARYLAND, not Annapolis. This was a major error on the part of The Sun's Nicole Fuller.

What say ye? Is a curfew on youngsters a desirable thing for Annapolis? With our understaffed police already spread so thinly, can we even do this effectively? Will we start hearing of a new offense to be called "DWY" or "OLATWU-19" (Out late at night while under 19)? What kind of ID do youngsters even have until they get their driver's licenses?

CP can't help but think that once again, this is about parental responsibility. If an irresponsible parent allows a youngster out late and he or she is in trouble or is picked up by police, what will the police do? Release the child to the parent? That may have been the problem in the first place. Do we start criminalizing young people because they were taking a walk? Visiting friends? Coming home from a dance? What if they are hanging out in front of a neighbor's house together, but they come from nearby houses?

The problem is the despair, poverty and segregation of public housing!!! That's where the violence is happening. The problems is drug dealing in and around public housing and the people in public housing who don't legally belong there. That's where the resources and programs and commitments need to take place. We can go on and on and make pronouncements and wring our hands. We can throw money and resources at it but what we must do is discuss the long term transformation of public housing into something that is good for everyone and uplifts everyone. It cannot and must not remain anything like the way it has been for years. It only hurts those who live there and those who are affected by its negative aspects.

All other discussions about crime, violence and the problem of our youth are secondary.


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